John Wesley Ray of Savannah, Tennessee died in his home today at the age of 85. J.W., as he was affectionately known, leaves a daughter Vicki Alston, also of Savannah, Tennessee, along with (3) grandchildren and (3) great grandchildren. JW served in the Korean War in the 4th Signal Battalion Corps. JW graduated from Mississippi State University in the school of business and started work with the F.D.I.C. where he retired as the head of the Tampa Florida field office. After retirement from the FDIC, he was involved in the charter and start-up of the Village Banks of Carrollwood.
JW was preceded in death by his son John Wesley Ray III and his dear wife and companion of 60 years Betty Jean Ray. He was also preceded in death by his parents, Grover Cleveland Ray and Hernrietta Hutchinson Ray; brother, G.B. Ray; sister, Wille E. Wilkinson; sister, Mildred Lowe; sister, Cerel Johnson.
JW and Betty Jean lived in Brandon, Florida and Lithia, Florida before retiring to the north Georgia mountains near Young Harris, Georgia. JW was active as a deacon in his church McConnell Memorial Baptist in Hiawassee, Georgia. In his later years JW lived in Starkville, Mississippi where he grew up, played football and met Betty Jean. The pride of JW’s life was his kids and grandkids. He was an avid hunter and fisherman, and enjoyed his horses.
J.W. will be greatly missed by all who knew him, but especially missed by his loving family: daughter, Vicki Ray Alston, and her husband, Max, of Savannah, Tennessee; granddaughter, Sarah Byrne and her husband Patrick Byrne; their son, Jack Wyatt Byrne (JW) of El Paso, Texas; granddaughter, Lindsey Gail Alston, of Nashville, Tennessee; grandson, John Max Alston and his wife Bria Fowler Alston, and their daughters, Olivia Paige and Annabelle Avery Alston, of Counce, Tennessee; sister-in-law, Joann Owens, of Starkville, Mississippi; several nieces and nephews also survive.
Funeral services for Mr. Ray have been scheduled for Wednesday, July 25, 2012, at 11:00 a.m., at McConnell Memorial Baptist Church in Hiawassee, with Rev. Don Pickerill officiating. Visitation will be held at the church, on Wednesday morning, beginning at 9:30 a.m., and last until the start of the service. Special music will be presented by Patsy Daniel, and she will be accompanied by Connie Lake. The following gentlemen will be serving as pallbearers: Walter Berg, James Jones, Bob Gibby, Don Woodruff, Bill Earnest, and John Max Alston. The following gentlemen will be serving as honorary pallbearers: Patrick Byrne, Truett Shook, Bobby Bryan, Mark Parker, Lamar Cockrell, and Broward Williams. Flowers are being accepted.
Arrangements entrusted to the care of Cochran Funeral Home of Hiawassee. Please send this family your condolences and sign the guest registry by visiting our website, www.cochranfuneralhomes.com.